SFNL Netball Round Reviews brought to you by yellow tail wines.
By Hugh Maclean
Heatherton has one hand on the Division 1 minor premiership after seeing off the Dingley challenge in Round 11.
Both sides came into the match with regular players missing, so how much of a pointer this game is to any finals encounters is open to debate. But Heatherton came to play in this one, and hit the ground running in the early exchanges. Dingley came into the game late in the first quarter, moving the ball up the court with precision to Jess Payne and Laura Piper in the goal circle. At the other end, the promoted Alysha Morecroft had her hands full with the challenge posed by Nat Billings. Heatherton shaded a high scoring first term by four goals, but in the second term the dam walls broke, with Rahni Samason shooting exceptionally well, and Dingley found themselves facing a 38-27 half time deficit. The lead was extended to twelve at the last change, but here is where the game really fired up. Dingley had swung coach Penny Byers-Timms into the goal circle, and in partnership with Payne they set about erasing the arrears. When they got to within three with time still on the clock it looked like the comeback would be decisive, but Heatherton were able to steady, and held on to win a classic by 66-61.
Caulfield took on Bentleigh knowing that the red and blues had given them hard games twice this season without taking the points. They pulled an unexpected coaching move, playing regular shooter Tobi Cunningham in defence to counter the height of Sophie O’Shea. The ball movement early was crisp from both sides but from the off Caulfield looked a little the more assured, and took a three-point lead to the first change that was held through an even second quarter. Caulfield began to intercept well early in the third term which allowed them to take control on the scoreboard, but Bentleigh refused to go away and went on a run of their own to be within five turning for home. The exertions of playing catch-up proved too great though, and Caulfield finished the stronger to get home by 51-41.
St Kilda City continued recent trends by starting strongly against Keysborough, and led by two at the first break. We have seen, however, that they have on occasions not backed this up with a solid second term, and here they were left to bemoan the last seven minutes of the first half in which Keysborough goaled 13 times to City’s three. This period was to prove decisive, as the second half was an even affair. St Kilda City pushed hard but could not knock the door down against a defence marshalled by the experienced Samantha Downie, the final score being 43-33.
The four matches in Division 2 were all fairly one-sided affairs. Undefeated Heatherton continued along their merry way against the rapidly improving Chelsea Heights. In recent weeks the Heights have started their games strongly whilst Heatherton have sometimes taken their time to get into the game. Here though they took a four-point lead to quarter time and never looked like letting it slip, increasing the lead at every break to win by 66-33. Dingley could have been excused for running out of steam, having several key players backing up having already played in Division 1. Instead they started like a side that had done a solid warm-up, and kept the same speed throughout the game, winning every quarter in a 59-24 victory.
Bentleigh needed to defeat second-placed St Pauls to retain fourth place, but St Pauls had other ideas, keeping Bentleigh to four goals in the first quarter and taking a 17-point lead to the main break. The second half saw Bentleigh spark up but the damage had been done. Bentleigh won the second half by ten goals but their first half dominance meant that St Pauls were never in serious strife, winning by 44-37. Mordialloc took Bentleigh’s spot in the four with a convincing win over CPL. They established a 19-4 lead early in the piece and although CPL shaded the Reds in the second quarter, Mordialloc were never headed in winning by 50-26.
With undefeated Heatherton having the bye in Division 3, the battle for the other finals places took centre stage. Dingley in second place took care of a plucky Mordialloc by 34-25 and St Kilda City had little trouble with ninth-placed Skye, winning by 58-28. Caulfield’s 32-31 victory over Clayton was not enough to give them fourth spot given Black Rock’s 32-32 draw with Keysborough. Caulfield plays Black Rock next start, and with Caulfield having a far more favourable run home this shapes as a must-win for the Jetballers.
Leaders Heatherton White had the week off in Division 4, giving the chasing pack the chance to get a little closer, and the next four sides all won. Heatherton Black took the points over Highett by 33-23, Keysborough were too good for Springvale Districts by 36-27, South Yarra won by forfeit over East Brighton, and Dingley put on the performance of the day, convincingly beating Caulfield by 50-21. In the last match Lyndale drew 28-28 with St Kilda City, a result that doesn’t help either side’s slim finals hopes.
Heatherton outlasted Mordialloc by 34-14 to maintain its lead in a crowded Division 5 ladder, after Black Rock’s 42-41 win over St Kilda City. With third-placed Bentleigh having the bye, Dandenong had the chance to draw level on points, but a 42-41 loss to Chelsea Heights put paid to those ideas. Dingley and Lyndhurst kept their hopes alive with wins over Skye and Cheltenham respectively.
Second played third in Division 6, with South Yarra asserting their authority by beating Lyndale 45-24. Lyndhurst affirmed their lead with a 48-12 win over Dingley. Caulfield defeated Highett by 54-42 to consolidate fourth place. St Kilda City look like the only side with a chance of taking fourth from Caulfield – they had little trouble with Hampton winning by 26 points, while Clayton stayed clear of CPL with a 45-19 victory.
Heatherton drew level with Mount Waverley at the top of Division 7 with a 63-33 defeat of the Mountain Lionesses. Third played fourth with Bentleigh firming third spot by beating Oakleigh Districts by 33-26. Elsewhere, Doveton and South Yarra beat Black Rock and Murrumbeena respectively. Division 8 saw Heatherton beat Cheltenham take top spot from them on percentage, while Dandenong drew level with Keysborough in third spot by beating them 36-26.
Top side Dingley Two beat Mordialloc Two by 36-10 in the Under 19s, while Mordialloc One completed the day’s proceedings by beating Skye by 46-20 to hold third place.